"Thou shalt love thy [spouse] with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her [or him] and none else."
-Doctrine and Covenants 42:22
|Link: Cleave to One Another|
Of course, being married doesn't mean that you can't have friends, even friends of the opposite sex. However, boundaries need to be taken into consideration so that a friendship outside of the marriage does not turn into something more than what is healthy for your marriage (Matheson, 2009, p. 3).Your spouse needs to be first in your heart amongst your earthly relationships.
Infidelity is not limited to only the physical act of sexual intimacy outside of the marriage. There is also emotional infidelity. Emotional infidelity is the act of giving way to romantic or sexual thoughts and emotions being focused on someone other than your spouse. It is a type of infidelity that doesn't usually happen suddenly, but gradually. It may come on so subtly that the person or people involved with it do not perceive any wrongdoing (p.3).
Questions to consider to honestly assess whether or not you are being unfaithful to your spouse by way of a friendship:
- Are you turning to your friend for comfort rather than to your spouse?
- "Do you find yourself thinking about your friend even when you are at home?"
- "Do you seek opportunities to be with your friend, even when work doesn't require you to be together?"
- "Do you email and text your friend when you're not together?"
- Do you tell your spouse about these messages? Do you feel a need to keep these messages a secret from your husband/wife?
- Do you spend more time and energy on your friendship than on your relationship with your spouse?
- "Do you compare your spouse to your friend?"
- "Would you feel uncomfortable introducing your spouse to your friend?"
- Do you feel this friendship to be "special"?
|Link: Clean Conscience|
I once attended a fireside where Dan Oaks, a counselor who specialized in overcoming sexual addiction in San Tan Valley, Arizona, talked about how the sexual need in human beings stems from the need to be bonded to another person. We are born with the need to feel bonded to others. As children, we bond to our parents and siblings through hugs, kisses, and spending time together. As we age and the sex drive kicks in, feelings of loneliness and isolation can make this new appetite burn with an intense heat in order for the person to seek out a meaningful bond. The healthiest way to feed this urge
|Link: Teen Talking to Parent|
Dan Oaks also said that having sexual trysts with somone to whom you are not married will also not fill this need for a bond because you do not share a deep, emotional bond with them. Your brain will say, "Well, that was nice, but that was not what I was looking for."
|Link: Marriage's Beautiful Garden|
To have a healthy sexual relationship within your marriage, you need to have healthy attitudes toward it. Often in religious circles, children are taught that intamacy is "icky" or a "necessary evil" for
|Link: Spencer W. Kimball|
"Recent research indicates that the capacity for sexual response in women is just as great, if not greater, than that of males."-Brent A. Barlow
What healthy sexuality in a marriage is NOT:
- Only for the procreation of children.
- Only for physical gratification (the couple becomes obsessed with pleasure so much that they neglect nurturing their love for one another).
- A tool to use as a weapon or a bargaining tool.
How to nurture sexuality in marriage:
- Talk about sex with your spouse (Brotherson, 2003, p. 2).
- Give yourself permission to "seek out from the best books" information in regard to how human sexuality works (p. 3). For suggestions, a list of Christian-based books that treats sexuality with dignity is provided at the end of this article.
- Overcome your negative feelings toward sex (p. 4). If you are a victim of sexual crime, you may need professional help to
- Think of your sexual relationship as a stewardship. In a stewardship, you give time and attention to a duty you want to see grow into something special (p. 5).
- View it, as Harold B. Lee puts it, as a "holy impulse for a holy
Link: harold-b-lee-mormon-prophet.jpg Link: Caring.jpg
- A hug and a kiss goodbye before you part ways for work, and then doing that again when reunited at the end of the day.
- Spending time together often throughout the week.
- Care about the small struggles she has in her life.
- Help around the house, especially when she has had a hard day at work (this includes the job of being a stay-at-home mother) or isn't feeling well.
- Compliment her and tell her you love her.
- Give small gifts.
- Sit next to her and hold her hand.
- A note to the wife: realize that your husband has needs other than just sexual. Sex actually isn't his main focus in life. He has hopes, dreams, interests, and aspirations. He needs you to know and understand these things. Also:
- Find time to spend with him.
- Allow him to be romatic with you (hugs, kisses, holding hands, receiving gifts, etc.).
- Express what you appreciate about him and the things he does (no sarcasm, please).
- Initiate affection.
- Try the things listed above in the note to the husband. They work for him too (Barlow, Sep. 1986, p. 3-4).
The sexual aspect of your realtionship is special and needed. The trust you share with one another needs to be more important than any feelings of infidelity. Enjoy your bond, and remember to nurture all aspects of your relationship as we have discussed in previous articles.
List of Christian-based books on healthy sexuality:
|Link: Keep Marriage Pure|
- You and Your Marriage by Hugh B. Brown
- The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love by Tim and Beverly LaHaye
- Between Husband and Wife: Gospel Perspectives on Marital Intimacy by Stephen Lamb and Douglas Brinley
- Intended for Pleasure by Ed Wheat
- The Sex-Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner Davis
- Purity and Passion by Wendy Watson
- Couple Sexual Awareness or Sexual Awareness, Couple Sexuality for the Twenty-first Century or Rekindling Desire, or A Step by Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages all by Barry and Emily McCarthy
Brotherson, S.E. (2003). "Fulfilling the Sexual Stewardship in Marriage." Meridian Magazine, www.meridianmagazine.com
Barlow, B. A. (Sep 1986). "They twain shall be one: Thoughts on intimacy in marriage." Ensign, Sept 1986, 49.
Matheson, K.W. (Sep 2009). "Fidelity in marriage: It's more than you think." Ensign, Sept. 2009, 13-16.